Police plan to charge a driver who lost control of his car after using his cell phone, sending the vehicle into a rain-swollen ditch and killing five children, a spokesman said Sunday.
Three counts of intoxication manslaughter were being prepared against Chanton Jenkins, 32, Houston police Kese Smith said.
Smith said Jenkins failed a field sobriety test after the accident Saturday, which followed torrential rain storms.
The bodies of three boys — ages 4, 7 and 11 — were found inside the vehicle. A search was planned Sunday morning for two girls ages 1 and 3, but morning fog delayed the use of a helicopter, Smith said.
The driver and another adult escaped from the vehicle, along with a 10-year-old girl.
Smith said the adult passenger told police Jenkins was the father of four of the children in the car, including the 10-year-old girl who escaped.
The current was so strong and the conditions so treacherous that it was several hours before authorities could search the sedan. Police said the vehicle was swept 100 feet from the spot where it left the road.
The passenger told police rain was falling heavily when Jenkins answered a cell phone. The passenger said Jenkins lost control when he hung up the phone and the car flew down an embankment into the ditch, Smith said.
At least one other traffic death was blamed on the powerful storms that swept across southeast Texas.
Smith did not know if Jenkins had an attorney to speak for him.